Airport layovers don’t count do they? I once had a layover in Madrid for two hours, but that did not provide me ample time to explore Spain. Two hours in a airport is a tease, a glimpse of what could have been. Ever since then I’ve always wanted to return to Spain. When TBEX (Travel Blogger Exchange) announced that they would host their latest conference in Lloret de Mar in Spain, I jumped at the chance and bought my ticket immediately.
I fell in love with the smaller cities in Costa Brava region, the charming little villages, the food, and the hospitality of the people. Costa Brava is a gem with wide open countryside, charming seaside villages, and bustling cities like Girona. It is a large region, so I thought I would highlight the top five gems of Costa Brava, Spain.
No doubt, this is one of my absolute favorite city in the region. Not to mention this was the city that surrealist artist Salvador Dali resided in. You can even visit his house, which has been preserved and turned into a museum. I fell in love with this charming seaside oasis, and it’s hidden alleyways with whitewashed homes boasting doors and shutters of vibrant shades of yellow, emerald green, and teal. Down by the seaside, there boasts a statue of Salvador Dali. I could have spent a few days here just meandering around the little hidden alleyways, stumbling upon sleeping cats resting on walls, and eating some seafood at the local restaurants.
2. Torroella de Montgrí
Set out in the countryside, 45 minutes away from Girona, is the quaint little town of Toroella De Montgrí. There are three golf courses in the area, which makes this a golf lovers paradise. In fact, Clipper Hotel & Resort in the area is one of the best hotel stays I’ve ever experienced. The hospitality of the staff was above and beyond, you will be sure you will get the best quality at this four star resort. And the food… scrumptious. Also be sure to check out the weekly local farmers market for some fresh fruits and veggies. Not far from the towns center is the 13th century Montgrí Castle, perched high on a hill. This little village is so charming and secluded, a must visit on your way to Girona.
Earlier in the month Girona hosted one of the loveliest festivals I’ve had the chance to visit. The Temps de Flors (Festival of Flowers) was absolutely stunning. Each year hundreds of thousands of flowers adorn the streets; hanging from the ceilings inside buildings, pots of flowers neatly arranged in rows even giant ceramic installations floating in the river.
Did you know that one of Girona’s bridges was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the same man who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Tucked away in a little corner from the Eiffel bridge is the Rocambolesc Gelateria, stop by this little Willy Wonka ice cream paradise and grab the Violet Coconut Gelato with your choice of sprinkles and take a stroll along one of the famous bridges in the world.
About a twenty minutes drive from Toroella de Montgrí, there lies a city with charming little cafes, an 11th century converted castle which is now a restaurant/luxury hotel. With it’s old stone walls in this medieval fortress, with it’s maze like alleys, it is easy to get lost in this small village which derives its name from “pedra tallada” which translates into carved stone.
Situated 22km from Girona, this place is perfect for a day trip if you want to venture beyond Girona and explore more of Costa Brava.
5. Lloret De Mar
Now…to be honest, Lloret de Mar wasn’t my absolute favorite – think 80’s Miami retro vibe. But I do give it an honorable mention because the city is trying to change it’s party image. I did have a chance to explore this city on account of it being the host city for this year’s TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) conference. One of the highlights of my stay there was the food truck festival held in the square – DALI’s Huevos food truck was among my favorite of the many scrumptious food trucks. Happy Food Truck rally will be sure to delight the hardcore foodies.
Have you been to any of these cities in Costa Brava? Any others that I need to visit the next time I visit the region? Post your comments below!